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Pediatrics. 2018 Nov;142(Suppl 3):S149-S156. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-0516E.

A 4-Step Framework for Shared Decision-making in Pediatrics.

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Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children's Research Institute; and Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington


Shared decision-making (SDM) is a well-established component of patient-centered care, and yet, its application in pediatrics is poorly understood. Common features of pediatric decision-making are not completely addressed in current SDM models, such as the fact that the principal SDM participant is the patient's surrogate, who, unlike competent adult patients deciding for themselves, has limitations on decision-making authority. To address this gap and improve the practice of SDM in pediatrics, a practical 4-step framework is presented. In step 1, physicians are posed the following question for any discrete decision: does the decision include >1 medically reasonable option? If the answer is no, SDM is not indicated. If the answer is yes, physicians proceed to step 2 and answer the following question: does 1 option have a favorable medical benefit-burden ratio compared with other options? If yes, physician-guided SDM is appropriate. If no, parent-guided SDM is appropriate. For each SDM approach, the physician proceeds to step 3 and answers the following question: how preference sensitive are the options? This helps to determine the specific SDM approach in step 4, which ranges from a strong or weak version of physician-guided SDM to a strong or weak version of parent-guided SDM. Several decisional characteristics, if present, can also help calibrate the version of SDM used. Additional analyses are needed to consider the inclusion of adolescents into this SDM framework.


Conflict of interest statement

POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The author has indicated he has no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

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